The 5-second summary: Learn how to develop practical initiatives to inject a healthy dose of wellness into the workplace.
Each year in Canada, 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health problem.[ Note 1 ] These issues are caused by genetic and biological factors, as well as environmental, professional or situational factors such as inflation. Almost half (49%) of Canadians say they're concerned about their finances.[ Note 2 ] This can lead to anxiety and even depression.
The Desjardins Global Wellness Survey conducted in 2022 also found that 84% of respondents believe their employer has a major role to play in their financial health, and 73% believe their employer should do more to promote their mental health.[ Note 3 ]
According to other sources, 60% of workers would be willing to leave their company for an employer offering better wellness support, even if it meant taking a pay cut![ Note 4 ]
Aim for overall wellness
Since financial, mental and physical wellness are the mainstays of a good employee benefits program, organizations would do well to adopt an overall workplace health approach that takes social and environmental wellness into account. If there's one thing we learned from our study on overall wellness, it's that these 5 dimensions are closely linked.[ Note 3 ] When our finances are in order, we feel better both mentally and physically. We feel less socially isolated and can afford to live in a healthy environment.
Three recommendations to promote workplace wellness
Here are 3 recommendations based on the first survey by The Conference Board of Canada's Workplace Mental Health Research Centre done in partnership with Desjardins:
Future-Proofing Investments in Workplace Mental Health: Meeting Employees' Evolving Needs.[ Note 5 ]
1. Focus on feedback, communication and adaptation
Only 31% of plan sponsors surveyed[ Note 5 ] ask their employees what they want in terms of wellness. Don't hesitate to inform employees about their benefits, provide regular updates on available resources (planners, online tools, webinars, podcasts), conduct employee surveys and make adjustments based on feedback. Why not add a spousal RRSP, support for future retirees or newcomers, or review mental health insurance coverage if need be?
2. Foster inclusion
The majority (85%) of organizations surveyed in the CBoC study[ Note 5 ] do not yet have an EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) policy. Building an open and tolerant workspace fosters employee wellness. Establishing EDI committees, promoting kindness or celebrating community months are some of the positive behaviours that can be adopted.
3. Encourage managers to become wellness ambassadors
They're the best advocates for wellness. Their role is to intervene and direct employees to assistance programs. Whether employees are experiencing a family crisis or a separation, managers are there to point them in the right direction, provided they have mental health and wellness training. Managers have as much impact on employee mental health and wellness as their life partners![ Note 6 ]